Cell phone access has become vital to our way of life, and New Jersey Transit is taking notice with a new pilot program to accommodate its riders.

(Photo courtesy NJ Transit)

The agency is testing out a new pilot program offering customers free cell phone charging stations at two of its major hubs, Newark Penn Station and the Frank Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction.

"It's a real amenity to them to able to charge their cell phones," said Lisa Torbic, NJ Transit Senior Public Information Officer. "We live in a world where we need to be connected and this is just an amenity we are providing to our customers."

The idea spawned from customer feedback and trends witnessed around NJ Transit stations.

"It had been noticed that customers were on the floor of stations charging their cell phones," Torbic said. "This is really something in response to what we've been seeing."

Each station will have three kiosks that allows for multiple users to be connected at once with enough cords to work with virtually every cell phone on the market.

"They're very close together, as you can imagine, because it's wires coming out," she said. "But we're comfortable saying several dozen at a time."

The trial period for the program will last three months.

"At the end of the three months, which should take us to the beginning of January, we'll make a decision if it's going to be expanded," Torbic said. "We want to see what the customer response is to this amenity."

Officials say there is also potential for this initiative to generate revenue since the kiosks have the capabilities to stream video advertisements.

"More and more, we live in an electronic world, where people need access to their cellphones for work, family and fun,'' said Veronique "Ronnie'' Hakim, Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT. "This is an added amenity that we know our customers want based on what we have seen."